A little over two years ago, he was identified as the hacker who unleashed chaos within the world of international football (click here).
Today, 30-year-old Rui Pinto, is under house arrest in Budapest while a Hungarian judge has 60 days to decide whether or not to agree to his extradition to Portugal on charges of extortion, unauthorised access and ‘violation of secrets’.
In the Portuguese press, much is being made of Pinto’s alleged publishing of incriminating emails emanating from Benfica, Porto and Sporting football clubs.
But in the wider scheme of things, the young man’s lawyers will be arguing that Pinto was simply acting as “as a kind of Robin Hood who wanted to restore morality to the sport”, says tabloid Correio da Manhã.
Right from the beginning, his explosive information published on the Football Leaks (à la WikiLeaks) website, and picked up by investigative journalists, was attributed to a “fervent Portuguese football fan who despairs of the corruption and avarice in his sport”.
Pinto’s purported revelations got balls rolling in multiple directions – ricocheting off big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, football manager José Mourinho, sports promoter Jorge Mendes, among other.
According to reports in the international media: the documents uploaded “helped reveal the football world’s shady inter-club player transfers that included shell companies and a slew of intermediaries that siphoned off huge bonuses from each player transaction”.
Pinto’s alleged whistleblowing also revealed how top European football clubs “often broke regulations”.
But the litigious fury, in Portugal at least, seems to have come from Benfica – a club marred by controversy in recent years.
Whether Pinto will indeed be extradited is the big question.
Says CM, the possibility that he might claim asylum in Hungary hasn’t been “put to one side” and the hacker in the meantime is fighting the European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities in Portugal.